Muschamp, Critic's Critic, Dies at 59

Wrote during 'surge of exuberance' in architecture
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2007 6:24 PM CDT
SPAIN. BILBAO. The Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Gehry. The Museum seen as being one of the finest buildings of our time has promoted a completely new rejuvenation of the Basque City. (LON66593)   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Architecture critic Herbert Muschamp died of lung cancer last night at age 59, the New York Times reports. Muschamp wrote for the Times during a “surge of exuberance” in architecture, and his personal style grabbed readers for more than a decade. Said the Times editor who hired him, “Herbert’s criticism was full of passion—too much for some readers.”

Muschamp's “arch, self-deprecating” style marked Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao as “the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe” and Daniel Libeskind’s World Trade Center plan as “a manipulative exercise in visual codes.” He was a critic’s critic, “as interested in the ideas” behind architecture as the buildings themselves. Muschamp, who was gay, also made the scene at Andy Warhol's Factory in the 1960s.